A consortium made up of funds managed by AGR Partners and StepStone Group has paid $77m (€70m) for a 50% stake in US cattle firm Green Plains Cattle Company.

In a joint statement, the companies said AGR Partners TGAM Agribusiness Fund Holdings-B and StepStone Atlantic Fund will buy half of Green Plains Cattle Company from Green Plains Inc.

Green Plains Cattle Company is the fourth largest cattle feeder in the US with a total capacity of more than 355,000 head of cattle across six feedlots in three southwestern states.

Todd Becker, president and CEO of Green Plains Inc, said: “We are excited about completing this transaction and the quality of investment partners who have aligned with us for the continued growth of Green Plains Cattle Company.

“This further validates the quality of the business we have built over the last several years and allows us to form new relationships with long term investors.”

Becker said the completion of this transaction also has a positive impact on the company’s balance sheet by adding $77m of cash and deconsolidation working capital debt associated with the cattle business which totalled approximately $335m at the end of the second quarter.

“We have significantly reduced our debt over the past year and between this transaction and paying off our $500m term loan, we are now back to a net debt positive position against our convertible bonds.”